For the month of March, we're bringing you encouragement and advice from creative business folks to help you get the word out about your creative endeavor. Today freelance writer, editor and stylist Amy Flurry shares a crash course in DIY PR, along with an excerpt from her book, Recipe for Press.
Ten ways to make your pitch stand out! A Crash Course in DIY PR
The truth is, editors and writers are constantly on the hunt for new people and products to feature and you don’t need a publicist in order to get our attention. You do, however, need to know what it looks like to pitch like a pro. DIY publicity works, but only if you play by these oft-unspoken-by-editors rules (there are more in my book, Recipe for Press)! When you do, it makes all the difference in scoring easy press.
Keep it personal
Always address the editor or blogger by name (and make sure you spell it correctly). A different editor compiles each section of the magazine and often that editor’s byline is written on the page. If you don’t bother to find out who you should approach, then the editor won’t feel obligated to read it. Engage the editor quickly Editors receive hundreds of pitches each week so you’ve got about three to five seconds to catch their eye. Grab their attention with a compelling headline and a clean photograph (embedded directly into the email) and keep your pitch tight, preferably two short paragraphs or less.
Work with the editorial calendar
Editors and writers for national magazines work six to seven months out and regional publications pull their pages together three to four months in advance. So if you’re pitching Country Living today, you’d want to connect your product or idea to an early fall theme like Back-to-School. Include one or two great pictures The very first thing the editor will look for in your pitch is the picture you send with it. Most editors know if they can use your product the second their eye hits the photo. Send crisp, well-lit images against a white backdrop to help your pitch rise to the top of the submission pile. And know that editors don’t open attachments. You want to embed the low-res (72 dpi) image into the email instead of sending large files that slow or clog an inbox. Give your pitch a header or subject Like a handrail for your idea, this gives editors—at a glance—the skinny on the story you have in mind. A little teaser for a bright red umbrella like (Cool Wet Weather Gear …….for under $25) helps the editor see that your product could fit in a number of themed roundups or sections. It also signals to the editor that you have done your part to make a good fit for their publication and that you are ready for press.
Think beyond printed publications
One of the smartest ways to get your product in a magazine is by starting with their website. Create a relationship with an online editor, who is also looking for people and products to feature, and she’s likely to pitch your services or product to print editors when the time is right. Make it new The one word an editor wants to see in every pitch is “new.” Why? New material fuels issue after issue. Magazines want to be the first to feature a new product or service or destination. If what you’re pitching is not new, then it is your job to tie the idea or product into a new trend, a holiday or current event. Respond to editors quickly Plenty of products with passionate people behind them fail to reach their press potential because they are simply slow to respond to editorial requests. Editors operate on very tight deadlines. If we can’t find you, we may have to move on to the company we know will come through for us every time.
Remember the Golden Rule of Publicity
The editor/PR relationship is about mutual respect, just like any other important and lasting relationship. People on either end who treat an editor or blogger as a tool or as an “outlet” are missing the message and won’t find success in pitching. Get to know the publication before you pitch When polled, editors say that the number one mistake people make in reaching out is not reading the publication before pitching. Print and online publications are formatted similarly every day/week/month, and getting to know their formula will help you identify a great fit. Does your product look like it could be plugged on to the page you're pitching? If so, then it’s likely a good fit. Similarly, don’t expect an editor to cover services when their pages are all product-driven. Do your homework first before reaching out.
Get to know the publication before you pitch
When polled, editors say that the number one mistake people make in reaching out is not reading the publication before pitching. Print and online publications are formatted similarly every day/week/month, and getting to know their formula will help you identify a great fit. Does your product look like it could be plugged on to the page you're pitching? If so, then it’s likely a good fit. Similarly, don’t expect an editor to cover services when their pages are all product-driven. Do your homework first before reaching out.
An excerpt from Amy's book, Recipe for Press:
About Amy Flurry
Amy Flurry is a contributor to some of the biggest publications on the newsstand and online including InStyle, Conde Nast Traveler, Country Living and Design Sponge. Amy served as a contributing editor to Lucky magazine for six years and is the author of the new DIY publicity book, "Recipe for Press: Pitch your story like the pros and create a buzz!" Her popular DIY PR workshop serves to strengthen relationships between editors and the entrepreneur. In addition to her editorial work, Flurry provides brand consulting for a mix of fashion and lifestyle clients.